Armenians In Kaffa, Crimea

The door of the 1371 Surb Sargis (Sergius) church in the city of Kaffa (Theodosia), Crimea, is a fine example of medieval Armenian woodworking.

Between the 14th and 17th/18th centuries, Armenians have made up the majority of the population of the city of Kaffa. The local Armenian community mostly comprised refugees from the western and northwestern regions of historical Armenia and neighboring Pontus, including the areas of the valleys of the Upper Euphrates, Lesser Armenia (Yerznka-Erzincan, Arabkir, Sebastia-Sivas), Trapizon, and Hamshen.

In the 15th century, the Armenians had about 40 churches in the city as well.

After the capture of Kaffa by the Ottoman Turks in 1475, a significant part of the Armenian population of the city was evicted to Constantinople (Istanbul), laying the core of the Armenian population of this city.

In the 15th-17th centuries, a large wave of migration of Crimean Armenians to the west has occurred – mainly to the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as other regions such as Moldova, Wallachia, and the territory of the Habsburg Empire.

The Catholic Armenians of Kaffa are the only group that was able to return to Crimea after Suvorov evicted the entire Armenian and Greek population of the peninsula to the Azov steppes. As for those in the Azov steppes, the Greeks have founded the colony of Mariupol, while the Armenians founded the city of Nor Nakhichevan with 5 villages nearby (the territory of modern Rostov).

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